How Big Data Can Help Your Organization

Big data has a lot of potential to benefit organizations in any industry, everywhere across the globe. Big data is much more than just a lot of data and especially combining different data sets will provide organizations with real insights that can be used in the decision-making and to improve the financial position of an organization. Before we can understand how big data can help your organization, let’s see what big data actually is:

It is generally accepted that big data can be explained according to three V’s: Velocity, Variety and Volume. However, I would like to add a few more V’s to better explain the impact and implications of a well thought through big data strategy.

Big data is extremely variable. Brian Hopkins, a Forrester principal analyst, defines variability as the “variance in meaning, in lexicon”. He refers to the supercomputer Watson who won Jeopardy. The supercomputer had to “dissect an answer into its meaning and [… ] to figure out what the right question was”. That is extremely difficult because words have different meanings an all depends on the context. For the right answer, Watson had to understand the context.

Variability is often confused with variety. Say you have bakery that sells 10 different breads. That is variety. Now imagine you go to that bakery three days in a row and every day you buy the same type of bread but each day it tastes and smells different. That is variability.

Variability is thus very relevant in performing sentiment analyses. Variability means that the meaning is changing (rapidly). In (almost) the same tweets a word can have a totally different meaning. In order to perform a proper sentiment analyses, algorithms need to be able to understand the context and be able to decipher the exact meaning of a word in that context. This is still very difficult.

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